Saturday, March 25, 2017
The three proposed research projects are Kim's, titled "Student Satisfaction Levels among Canadian Armed Forces Members toward their distance learning experiences" which deals with Canadian armed forces training and distance education; Rosemarri's , titled "Transforming Learning in Higher Education: Implementing UDL in Higher Education"; and Scott's, titled "College Leadership and Distance Learning"
There were some common themes between these three presentations, and presentations that have been done previously in the semester, be it underlying reasons for the research, methodologies employed, or potential timelines. Having seen the timelines of friends from Cohort 6 (and to some extent from Cohort 5), I can say that I've certainly revised my own timeline to a much more realistic expectation (how does 2019 sound?).
Going back to some common threads, Kim discussed a little bit about the training costs associated with the CAF (approximately $1.3B Canadian per year). I am not sure what the size of the CAF is, but I was wondering how much is that amortized per member of the CAF; not that every member of the CAF will have an equal dollar amount of training spent on them, but it was a thought. The thing that really stood out for me was the story about officer training and how a member of the CAF can spend 1 year in residence to complete their training, or do it over a period of 2 years via distance education in the field (because Distance Ed is considered by the brass less rigorous and hence you have to have more). It's interesting to see such (unfounded) biases alive not just in academia (my playground) but also in other places. This question isn't really related to Kim's research (which is survey research) but I'd love to see a compare and contrast of the on-campus officer training vs the online version. They should have equal outcomes, but I am wondering what the pros/cons are for each modality.
Another presentation (Scott's) dealt more with college leadership and the adaptation of colleges in Canada to distance education. The idea behind this research is to look at leadership variables that promote growth of distance education at the university president level. The underlying rationale here (at least one of points) was that the role of the university is changing, and the university must adapt or go extinct. Scott quoted O'Meara who said that Higher Education as it is found to be "irretrievably immersed in a merciless marketplace" (O'Meara). If I remember correctly Scott is the only person who has presented thus far (from our Cohort) that is doing mixed-methods.
I think the idea of leadership variables promoting growth at the university is important. Bad leaders do have a chilling effect both to individuals and to the organization as a whole. That said, the thing that was running through my mind is the framing of the argument. A lot of what we see today (at least on my side of the border) tends to be about framing higher education in the framework of a market economy: get degree X to do work X, come back often for CPD. There is, however, in my mind a disjuncture here. School costs a lot. Both from a financial aspect and a time aspect (not to mention any emotional aspects). Education isn't a new pair of jeans you buy every other season. Adapting to a market economy (IMHO) isn't what institutions of higher education should be doing. We should be innovative, but the evolve or die out framing doesn't work well for this particular sector of life and society.
As an aside, in the chat Norine wrote a paper called "Adult learning theories: shows that hurt the feet" - LOL. Now I am curious to read that paper. I am not sure how this came up, but it must have been in someone's lit review :-)
That's all for this season of EDDE 806 :-) See you in the fall!